WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED...
There is a serious crisis in North Wagga.
Residents are getting ready to disaffiliate from Council in order to take action to protect themselves from the next flood because Council will not do it. They are either incompetent, corrupt or both. ICAC and OLG will determine this.
The State Government introduced the Flood Prone Land Policy in 2005, the sole objective of which is for Councils to mitigate the personal losses incurred by those residents living in a floodplain. Councils receive funding and technical support to ensure that where feasible, their communities are adequately protected.
North Wagga Residents firmly believe that Council is determined to spend little money, if any, on North Wagga, Wagga’s most vulnerable floodplain community. This seems to be evident from Mayor Conkey’s comment on Prime 7 back in 2018, which apart from being extremely idiotic and insulting, is a clear breach of Model Code of Conduct. Here is the link –https://twitter.com/i/status/1076010675825184768. In the Residents' opinion, these are not the words of a true leader. It is interesting to note that in the video, our so called leaders, McCormack, McGirr & Conkey are describing the 2012 floods, but such is their contempt for North Wagga, did not mention that we suffered catastrophic flooding and only made reference to the CBD, which remained dry because it was protected by the Main City Levee. It was being upgraded at the time. Residents were truly gobsmacked.
It appears that the flood studies and reports have been manipulated to suit Council’s obvious agenda. Mandatory information is omitted, such as the social effects of flooding on residents, which amounts to unsustainable emotional and financial trauma. If included, it would far outweigh the arguments against a 1 in 100 levee for North Wagga, which Residents say are nonsensical anyway.
It was argued that North Wagga cannot have a 1 in 100 levee because (1) Residents will become complacent and may not evacuate on time; and (2) the upstream effects of 0.2m are substantial and unacceptable.
This seems very strange in light of the fact that the 1 in 100 levee was secured for Central despite the fact that the residents were described as being essentially flood unaware and don't turn up for flood meetings, and the upstream effect on North Wagga is also at 0.2m.
So why the obvious contradiction?
Residents believe that possible Corruption in Wagga City Council might be a reason why Wagga’s most vulnerable flood-prone community is not getting the protection it deserves in accordance with the 2005 Flood Prone Land Policy.
Residents initiated a private investigation in an attempt to understand what possible motivations there were to make decisions that will see a community emotionally and financially devastated. There is one Councillor, who has been involved at every level of the flood risk mitigation process since the 2005 Policy was implemented. The Creighton Report provides evidence that this Councillor is a secret developer and did not disclose this to Council. He is also financially linked to a real estate agents, builders, developers and earthmovers. Through his wife, he in fact subdivided land in Boorooma into 101 Residential lots, which is located a stone's throw from North Wagga without Council or the public knowing. He was even on the Planning Panel that approved the DA and disclosed the obvious conflict of interest he had to them.
As such, Residents cannot see how this person, who is acting so covertly in the area of property development, can look at the issue of protection for North Wagga, which is prime land, without being disinterested in the opportunities that could arise, should residents not be protected and forced to sell up cheaply and leave.
The protection of the Central/CBD has come at enormous cost to North Wagga. Residents are still reeling from the 2012 Catastrophic flood. While the Main City Levee protected the Central/CBD, our homes were all but destroyed, flood insurance premiums for sky rocketed, becoming out of reach for most residents, exposing households to huge flood damage costs as well as the inevitable downward spiral of house values. Many families were forced to sell up cheaply at huge losses and leave, livelihoods destroyed. Another flood, which is due any time soon with a token 1 in 8 levee, will leave many families emotionally and financially destitute.
North Wagga is now even more vulnerable as the Main City Levee upgrade will increase flood levels in the village by some 0.2m, which means that much less water is needed to overtop the levee.
To add salt to the wound, Council has ignored warnings since 2007 to manage the thick vegetation in the North Wagga floodplain, which according to WMAwater, has the effect of increasing flood levels by some 0.2m and was the likely cause of the levee to overtop in 2012.
This matter has been brought to the attention of our Local MP (Joe McGirr), Federal MP (Michael McCormack, also Deputy Prime Minister), Minister for Local Government (then Upton), Minister for Energy and Environment (Matt Kean); and Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management (Littleproud).
THEY HAVE ALL FOBBED US OFF!
These people are not in our view true leaders and do not deserve to hold office. No true leader would allow so many residents to suffer as North Wagga residents suffer.
We deserve protection and we intend to get it.